Beginning golfer needs advice

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hapaboy, May 15, 2004.

  1. I finally am going to take up golf, not because the sport interests me but because I find that I'm missing out on a lot of business and networking opportunities by not playing.

    ANYWAY, I would appreciate advice on how to get started.

    Lessons? Videos? What is the first step? Several of my golf-playing friends say it's best to take lessons. Others learned on their own and suggest I do the same.

    I don't want to pay a small fortune for lessons, if possible. What's a reasonable rate to pay a golf school for beginning instruction?

  2. Lucrum


    I've been drinking so if it shows I apologize in advance.

    I've never been to a school but I have taken lessons from several different instructors over the years and if you've never played before some lessons may be the way to go, before you learn any bad habits by trying to teach yourself.
  3. My brother-in-law took up golf in midlife and it was excruciating for him initially. Then it got to painful. Then to mildly irritating. And now I think he actually enjoys most rounds after several years. Keep in mind he didn't play that often so you can accelerate that learning curve depending on your ability.

    Here's the point: unless you're extremely gifted in hand-eye coordination, it will be tough going for awhile. I've played since I was a kid and always loved the sport so I can't relate to your question except to say that what accelerated my brother-in-law's playing ability were a series of lessons that he took with a club pro. It really made a diffference to his game as he was about ready to give it up.

    So you've got one vote for lessons...
  4. One in ten thousand adults can teach themselves. Maybe. My advice would be to find a good clubmaker who also teaches. Get him to fix you up with a set of custom made clubs and start you off correctly. Clubs are like business suits. Few fit correctly off the rack. Poorly fitting clubs can make learning agony. You don't need to spend a fortune on clubs either. Despite the ads, they are basically all the same. At least a beginner will not be able to tell a lot of difference, provided they fit properly and are not totally wrong for your level.

    It's a great game, good luck.
  5. Banjo


    Always wash your balls before playing.
  6. I taught myself. The best books that I ever read was the square to square book and Harvey Pinick's little green book. Two different systems!

    Here is why I gave up golf after playing many years. I had a friend who had a powerful swing but was very wild and a poor player. I gave him one square to square lesson and a few months later he beat the pants off of me. After that I said forgetaboutit.

    If you can hit the ball a ton then I think you can learn the game and enjoy it immensely by reading either of the two books that I mentioned. Pinick also has a video tape.

    IMHO most good golfers rely on natural coordination to play. If you go to a golf tournament you will see that there are all kinds of swings out there. The few pros that I knew were naturals. They couldn't teach you jack shit about hitting the ball.

    If you learn to play well, you might be able to use the game for business contacts but if you are a duffer forgetabout it and cardinal rule number one is, if you are playing with good golfers, pick the ball up and concede the hole after a double bogie. Don't keep hitting and hitting and hitting and then say, "I got a 16 on that hole. Cardinal rule number two is don't lie about your score.

    regards and good luck
  7. Hap, I was in somewhat the same boat. I never played until recently. Biggest thing I learned was I should have started 40 years earlier. But there's nothing I could do about that.

    As for lessons vs. teaching yourself: I was a ski instructor and I also took a lot of tennis lessons in my life. So I am a big believer in lessons.

    Some sports, like golf, tennis and skiing require a lot of technique. So trying to teach yourself is a waste of a lot of time when you can actually be improving with the help of lessons. Trial and error works, but not efficiently.

    When I was living in Aspen, certainly I knew a lot of 12 year olds who were great skiers and took no (or virtually no) lessons. But learning at a young age is far different than learning as an adult.

    You and I talked about guitar lessons. Yeah, you can teach yourself, but lessons are a major shortcut.

    Someone said that being able to hit the ball a long way is important. Not so sure about that. I play every Saturday with a lifelong friend. He's been playing forever. I have been playing for 3 years. He can drive the ball over 300 yards. Maybe my best drive is 240 or so......probably average more like 220 (which is short for a male adult). But I can still outscore him. The game is about putting and the short game in general.

    Take lessons. Be able to get out of the sand. Be able to get close to the pin from around the green. Even Tiger Woods does not get on the green in regulation as much as MANY of the pros that don't win tournaments. (Nor does he hit a very high percentage of fairways). But getting "up and down" makes up for a lack of accuracy and distance. You can't (usually) as an adult do much about your driving distance after you have been playing for a relatively short time. But the rest of the game you can develop at any age.

    Lessons, lessons, lessons!!!

    And even though the game is frustrating, and even though I KNOW I will never be very good, I still get great enjoyment out of playing. Again, I wish I had started younger. Great game! I grew up playing baseball, but it's a kids game. Can't play at my age at all. Skiing? Major effort to do, and age makes you lose it. Tennis, again, after a certain age, you just slow down. While golf is perfectly suited for "mature" ages. It's not about how far you can hit the ball. I have played with a lot of much older guys who score very well. They can't hit the ball far at all. But it doesn't matter.

    Another thing about lessons: even Tiger Woods takes them. Morgan Pressel, (young lady golfer) is coached by her grandfather. I know her parents fairly well. Without the coaching, she would not be a golfer. (Her uncle is Aaron Krickstein...his father is Morgan's grandfather). The father/grandfather made Aaron and Morgan what they are. So even though it is two different sports, someone who can teach makes all the difference in the world.

    Go for it Hap. I love playing, and like I said, my big regret is not having started younger. But lessons are essential. Having fun is essential. DON"T KEEP SCORE:). It makes it more fun. You can forget the bad holes and remember what happens that is good.

    AAA's advice is worth re-reading. What he said about being fitted for clubs is MAJOR! And the cost is negligible. Good fitting clubs will help a lot. Expensive clubs will probably be a disadvantage to you as a beginner (forged blades as compared to cast cavity backs...stuff you will learn about very quickly). And as almost all have told you...LESSONS!!!!

  8. ERROR404 said:
    Maybe my best drive is 240 or so......probably average more like 220 (which is short for a male adult).

    With the great short game that you say you have, you are probably hot as a pistol off of the ladies tees.:D

  9. LOL..... And a good tail wind always helps. And maybe if I used a driver instead of a three wood that might help too...but I'd rather hit my second shot from the short grass than the rough..or worse.

    Anyway, my lack of distance doesn't bother me in the least. All about having fun. Glad it amuses you though!

  10. Good points, RS. Golf is addictive because there is an onionskin quality to learning it. The more you learn and the better you get, the more nuances you become aware of and then you have to refine them.

    The problem with reading a couple of books, and I recommend anything by David Ledbetter, is that in golf, "feel" is not "real", ie you think you're doing one thing but really you're doing something else. Video can help, but only if you know what to look for.
    #10     May 16, 2004